Who or what is antichrist? What does this strange-sounding term mean? How can you avoid being a victim of the end-time Antichrist’s deception?
Who or what is antichrist?
The Bible uses the term antichrist in several ways. It can refer to a general attitude of rejection and disregard for God, to those who teach deceitful lies about Christ and the true way of life or it can refer to a prophetic personality who will arise in the end time and lead a false religious system.
Antichrist is coming
Speaking of the end times just before the return of Jesus Christ, the apostle John wrote, “Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour” (1 John 2:18).
What is antichrist?
The term antichrist means against or contrary to Christ. Albert Barnes explains that this term “might denote anyone who either was or claimed to be in the place of Christ, or one who, for any cause, was in opposition to him” (Notes on the Bible, 1 John 2:18).
The preceding passage shows that a specific person will appear as “the Antichrist” prior to Christ’s return and that many “antichrists”—those of the same spirit or philosophy that is against Christ—already existed.
Antichrist also called man of sin and false prophet
The specific person to whom John referred has additional names in other passages of the Bible. These include:
- “The man of sin” who, with Satan’s help, will perform miracles to deceive people prior to Christ’s return (2 Thessalonians 2:3).
- “Another beast coming up out of the earth” (Revelation 13:11).
- “The false prophet” who will deceive earth’s inhabitants to fight against Christ when He returns (Revelation 16:13-14).
Although we do not know who this specific individual is at this time, we will be able to identify him in the future because of the “power, signs, and lying wonders” that will be granted to him by Satan the devil to deceive humans into disobeying and rebelling against Christ (2 Thessalonians 2:9). The Antichrist will be destroyed at Christ’s return to earth (2 Thessalonians 2:8; Revelation 19:20).
Many deceivers and antichrists
In addition to “the Antichrist,” Jesus and the apostles warned that there would be many false prophets who would arise to deceive humans at the end of this age (Matthew 24:4-5). John later identified anyone who would function as a false prophet as “a deceiver and an antichrist” (2 John 1:7).
Antichristian movements are already at work in our world today. In the United States, atheists want to remove the name of God and Christ from national monuments and the nation’s currency. Such efforts are disrespectful of God and are perhaps some of the most obvious efforts directed against God.
As John explained, “Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son” (1 John 2:22).
The deception that is harder for many to see is religious in nature. As Jesus warned, “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24:24).
Antichrist: false teachings
How can we identify the teachings of those opposed to Christ so we can avoid being deceived? A careful study of the Bible reveals the following about false teachers:
- Their teaching abolishes or minimizes God’s law. Jesus came teaching His Father’s laws, which included the 10 Commandments. He specifically stated, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets” (Matthew 5:17). Christ’s practice was to observe all of these foundational principles of God’s law. The apostle John wrote, “He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked” (1 John 2:6).
Yet most churches today don’t believe in following Christ’s example of keeping all of God’s commands. Many have been deceived into thinking that the law has been nailed to the cross and that Jesus kept it for us.
How can we identify the teaching of those opposed to Christ so we can avoid being deceived?
But notice what Jesus said: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (Matthew 7:21-23).
Summarizing Christ’s words, John stated, “Whoever transgresses [sins or breaks God’s laws] and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God” (2 John 1:9).
Written by Bill Swanson. https://lifehopeandtruth.com/prophecy/end-times/antichrist/